EMC hikes offer for Data Domain as bidding war escalates

Firing the latest salvo in a bidding brawl, data storage company EMC Corp. boosted its offer for Data Domain which has already accepted a lower bid from NetApp.

EMC's new offer of $33.50 a share in cash, announced Monday, is $3.50 a share above its previous offer and values Data Domain at $2.1 billion.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Data Domain has already accepted a sweetened bid of $30 a share in cash and stock from NetApp, which said Monday its board would examine in options.

Data Domain makes products that cut down on the amount of storage that customers need to buy from storage companies like EMC and NetApp.

NetApp, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., originally offered to buy Data Domain on May 20 for $25 a share in cash and stock, or $1.5 billion.

EMC then offered to pay $30 a share, or $1.9 billion, in an all-cash deal; NetApp matched that price in a cash-and-stock offer and Data Domain agreed to NetApp's new bid.

EMC's latest offer comes on the same day NetApp said it received clearance from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the acquisition. The company also has cleared Federal Trade Commission hurdles.

In announcing its revised bid, Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC said the FTC had granted early clearance for the deal.

In response to EMC's new offer, NetApp Chief Executive Dan Warmenhoven said in a statement that his company's board "will carefully weigh its options, keeping in mind both its fiduciary duty to its stockholders and its disciplined acquisition strategy."

Data Domain shares advanced 85 cents, or 2.6%, to close at $34.06, while EMC shares rose 11 cents to $12.89. Shares of NetApp fell 11 cents to end at $18.85.

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